Tuesday, 13 September 2016

22 years later we re-visit Llangollen

Saturday 10th September 2016
Chirk to Llangollen
9 miles, 0 locks, 2 tunnels and 2 aqueducts

Our visitors arrived promptly just before 10am.  They were a cousin of Chris, Aled and his wife, Undeg and children Garmon (9), Morus (7) and Marged (5).  First things first - kit the children out in life jackets and we were ready for the off.  We knew it would be a slow trip, so we moved off delaying coffee until we had crossed the Chirk Aqueduct and tunnel.  Yesterday I promised photos of the aqueduct and here they are.  It is a taste of things to come!

This shows the railway viaduct built higher to show the superiority of the railways.

Looking across the aqueduct you can just see the tunnel at the end

Cleddau led the way

Followed by Tentatrice with it's extra crew

The children enjoyed the sensation of being in the tunnel and it all being so dark.  As Cleddau and then ourselves emerged we noticed the queue waiting to go from west to east.

Just as we emerged this group of cyclists were congregating on the towpath - for us a reminder of the many groups of child cyclists we saw in France on the Canal du Midi.

Whitehouse tunnel is very short

But on the other side it was chaos with boats waiting all over the place.  We were glad we were heading west.

On past the reclaimed lime kilns at Froncysyllte

And our first view of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

But before we got there we had to raise and lower the one lift bridge of the day.

They all had a turn even though Marged was just a little too short she made a good job of it.

And then came the joy of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct - it really is an incredible feat of engineering skill.  Here are a few facts gleaned from Wikipedia - it was built by Thomas Telford and William Jessop and is 336 yards long, 4 yards wide and 5.25 foot deep.  It was opened in November 1805 and cost £47,000 - which I gather in 2015 equated to £3,440,000.

It is not for the faint hearted or those afraid of heights - there is a walkway and railings on one side

But nothing on the other!

The views are breathtaking - Monty was sent down from his usual position of balancing on the back deck to view from the bow with me on the other end of his lead!!

At the other end of the aqueduct is the Anglo Welsh hire boat basin at Trevor where we hired from 22 years ago.

Aled took the helm as we continued on supervised by Marged, Morus and Monty.

There were moments of solitude with no boats around, but not a lot!

And some stunning views

We stopped at the Sun Trevor Pub moorings

To visit the pub

For lunch

Just after those moorings you reach the first of two stretches of 'Narrows'.  The first is 300 metres long and the second 500 metres.  There is one passing place on the first stretch, but the only way to traverse in safety is to send an advanced party on foot to check the way was clear.  That duty fell to Sue, Monty and I.

It did afford yet more stunning views

There is a lift bridge, but this is permanently up

For anyone who is a cat lover - I found this memorial to a canal cat

Until finally you are welcomed to Llangollen

With instructions on where to pay

The crew were still happy

So here we were where we must have moored on that first visit in April 22 years ago. I am fairly certain we did not have to pay and we saw very little of Llangollen.  The rain was of the stair rod type - we were on a one way trip from Trevor to New Mills and had been brought from New Mills by coach.  When we left there it had been snowing, so I think you can picture the day!  It really was very cold, wet and miserable.  All we did was moor, don our waterproofs, run to the nearest pub where we had a very indifferent meal, head back to the boat, go to bed, get up and leave!  We certainly did not see Llangollen in its best light - we hoped to fair better this time.

I don't remember this being there 22 years ago - it is a cafe and the booking office for boat trips and for payment for mooring in Llangollen for the maximum of 48 hours.

This time we headed for the basin which was opened in 2005.  A really good addition to allow so many more boats safe moorings.

It was then time for a final photo of our us with our visitors - from the left - Marged, Aled, Morus (behind), Garmon, Undeg, Jennie, Chris - I rather think we had worn Monty out!!  All those extra people to supervise!

And finally we waved them goodbye as they headed off to find a taxi to take them back to Chirk and their car.  A really enjoyable day made even better by lots of warm sunshine.

Round behind the basin we found a piece of Monty heaven - just right for some ball games.

Sue and I had headed off to have a quick explore on Llangollen, but more of that later.  When we returned what better way to end the day than relaxing in the evening sun with a Pimms,

And tucked away in the corner we saw a boat that will be familiar to some bloggers - nb Sanity looking very smart after a recent re-paint.

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